Blowout losses, for me, tend to be the easiest ones to get over. Today’s is a little harder because the Cubs really should have wrecked Jason Vargas, but, whatever. They could have put up a nine spot and still would have lost. Then I’d really be stewing tonight.
As it is, I feel pretty chill about the loss. And not just because of the blowout nature, but also because it came just a few hours after the Cubs locked down yet another series win. It has been a month since the Cubs lost a series. When that stretch started, the Cubs were tied atop the NL Central standings. Now they’re at least going to be 3.5 games up, pending the Pirates’ ability to beat Miles Mikolas tonight.
All is well.
Here’s another reason I’m feeling good tonight despite the loss: the Cubs kicked off this hellacious 23-straight-game stretch with nine very winnable games, and they’ve cashed in. Having now won 7 of the first 9 “easy” games in the stretch, the Cubs could go 5-9 in the final 14 and they’d still come out of this thing having won more than half of the games in this brutal stretch.
Don’t get me wrong – things get really challenging from here for the Cubs, who have to face the Braves for a single game in Atlanta, then head to Philadelphia for three, then to Milwaukee for three, then to Washington for four, and then back home for three more with the Brewers. There’s not a losing record among those teams, and all but three of the games are on the road. Again: with no days off.
Going 5-9 in this stretch, even for a very strong Cubs team, is totally possible. That was why it was so important for the Cubs to make as much hay as possible during these first nine games. Sure, they bookended it with losses, but in the middle, they won a season-high seven in a row. Good. Good.